Welcome to the Tuesday edition of NHL Rumours! We are about 24 hours from Free Agency beginning. Teams are trying to make their final pushes to sign the big-name players. We saw a lot of players move over the last two weeks in trades. While a couple of teams signed their restricted free agents to contracts. But it is crunch time for those clubs wanting to sign their own unrestricted free agents. In today’s edition of NHL Rumours, we look at the New Jersey Devils, Montreal Canadiens, and Colorado Avalanche.
New Jersey Devils
Analysis: The New Jersey Devils are going to be an interesting team to watch once free agency begins on Wednesday. They are primed to be major players if they can close the deal with the players they are after. One of those players is free agent defenceman, Dougie Hamilton. Hamilton is the headliner of the 2021 free-agent class. The Devils are in desperate need of an upgrade on their defence. Over the past few seasons, the Devils defence has ranked near the bottom of the league. Defensive hockey was a staple of Devils hockey when they won their three Stanley Cup titles. Hamilton would give the Devils a legit number one defenceman something they have been desperately missing for quite some time now.
Hamilton is looking to receive between $8-$9 million per season when free agency begins on Wednesday. And the Devils can give him that kind of money over seven years. The Devils have been pursuing the defenceman pretty hard as the team looks to make a splash this offseason. General manager Tom Fitzgerald has stated that he wants the Devils to start playing meaningful games again. Hamilton will certainly help that cause for sure. He is a solid defenceman, whose game has only gotten better since being with Carolina. Not to mention the Devils have not had that kind of offensive production since Scott Niedermayer was there.
Rumour: Elliotte Friedman on his 31 Thoughts podcast says that David Savard will end up with the Montreal Canadiens when free agency begins.
Friedman on 31TP: “I think David Savard, Montreal. Until I’m proven wrong on that one I’m going David Savard in Montreal.”
— NHL Watcher (@NHL_Watcher) July 25, 2021
Analysis: Just like with the Devils, the Montreal Canadiens will be in need of an upgrade on their defence. With Shea Weber out for the season and on long-term injured reserve, the Canadiens have money to spend. Obviously, they are going to try to bring in scoring. But a priority is going to be defence. Whoever the Canadiens bring in will never replace their captain. But they need to be able to find a suitable option that can fill in for this season. One option could be and appears to be David Savard. Savard is another big defenceman they can bring to join Ben Chariot, Jeff Petry, and Joel Edmundson. Not to mention the young defenceman Alexander Romanov.
Montreal’s success this year was because of their defence. Savard is a rock-steady defender that can eat minutes. He can play big minutes as well as we saw with the Blue Jackets during their playoff runs. Even though his time diminished with the Lightning he still played a crucial role in their success. He assisted on the Stanley Cup-winning goal. And put with the right player on Montreal can be that defensive defenceman the Canadiens are looking for to play with a player like Romanov.
With Weber out for the season and veteran centre Phillip Danault, along with wingers Joel Armia and Thomas Tatar testing free agency, the Canadiens could be in on a number of players in the coming days. There are also reports that the team has signed Chris Wideman.
Rumour: Our last NHL Rumour once again comes from Pierre LeBrun. LeBrun states that nothing has changed between the Colorado Avalanche and goaltender Philipp Grubauer.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) July 26, 2021
Analysis: Now that Cale Makar is signed to a new deal, the Avalanche still have two priorities this offseason. One of them is re-signing Gabriel Landeskog and the other is Philipp Grubauer. The Avalanche protected Grubauer in the Seattle Expansion Draft. That means the Avalanche were confident enough to re-sign him to a new contract this offseason. However, that does not mean the two parties are close to reaching a new deal. Right now it remains status quo between Grubauer and the Avalanche. Colorado needs a number one goalie and Grubauer has been their guy through these last couple of years. But the question is do the Avalanche believe he is the guy.
Well protecting him for the expansion draft makes people think he is the guy in Colorado. Over the last couple of seasons, he has not been the reason why the Avalanche have struggled in the playoffs, though Grubauer has let up a goal or two that he would want back. But other than that Grubauer has been rock solid for the Avalanche. The key for Joe Sakic will be the money and the length of the contract. Because Landeskog is still a priority for Colorado and they will need some salary cap space to sign him.
That does it for this edition of NHL Rumours. Stay tuned for another edition either later on Tuesday or Wednesday.
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